88-year-old grandmother of Israeli MK beaten in France, called ‘dirty Jew’

New Hope lawmaker Sharren Haskel warns if France doesn’t protect its Jews from radical Islam, other French people will be next to suffer

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

MK Sharren Haskel in the Knesset, Jerusalem, on June 28, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)
MK Sharren Haskel in the Knesset, Jerusalem, on June 28, 2023. (Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90)

The 88-year-old grandmother of MK Sharren Haskel (New Hope) was physically and verbally assaulted last month in France in what the Israeli lawmaker said was an antisemitic attack that should serve as a wake-up call to the French people about the threat posed by radical Islam.

French media reported Wednesday that the elderly woman had filed a complaint with police about the June 24 assault. She said she was beaten to the ground as her two assailants called her “a dirty Jew.”

Haskel panned the French government for not doing enough to curb antisemitism, saying it “ignores and allows the spread of blood libels against Israel,” in particular following Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel that set off the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip.

In her complaint to police, the woman, who was not named in media reports or by Haskel, described leaving her home in Val-d’Oise, north of Paris, for a medical appointment when two men assaulted her, reports said. One of them, she said, punched her in the face, breaking her tooth and causing her to fall to the ground. She was kicked in the back as one of the men shouted “dirty Jew” and called her “a dirty old woman.”

The two assailants also shouted at her: “This is what you deserve.”

In her police complaint, the woman noted that she was wearing a Star of David necklace and that the two men may have noticed, “otherwise they wouldn’t have known” that she was Jewish, according to reports.

She was left with pain in her back, her knees, her shoulder, and her right wrist, and required medical treatment.

A police car is seen in Paris, France, on March 29, 2024. (Photo by Bertrand GUAY / AFP)

In a statement to Hebrew media outlets, Haskel said that the two men who attacked her grandmother were “Arab thugs.”

“Antisemitism in France has been on the rise for a long time. Since October 7, it has become intolerable and the government in France is ignoring and allowing the spread of blood libels against Israel. As a result the Jewish community is suffering from violence, rape, murder.”

Adding that she does not have any hope that French authorities will deal with the assault, the lawmaker called on the Israeli government to “wake up and lead the fight against exploding antisemitism.

“The Jewish communities in the world are an inseparable part of us and we have a great responsibility toward them,” Haskel said. She urged Jews living in the Diaspora to move to Israel.

Haskel also published an opinion piece in the Causeur, a French news magazine, in which she called for an end to “state-run anti-Israeli propaganda” that she claimed is led by the Agence France Presse (AFP) news service and French public media, and that according to her is feeding antisemitism.

“France, a country renowned for its values ​​of liberty, equality and fraternity, is failing to protect its Jewish citizens,” she wrote. “The violent attack on my grandmother is not an isolated incident but part of a pervasive and growing trend of antisemitic violence that has gripped the country.”

She said ongoing aggression stems from “the rise of radical Islamist ideologies that have taken root in parts of Europe, particularly in France.”

A French policeman stands guard outside a synagogue, two days after security measures have been reinforced near Jewish temples and schools, in central Paris, on October 9, 2023. (Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP)

Noting that she too faced antisemitism when growing up in France, Haskel said the massive October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas that killed 1,200 people “is a wake-up call for every French citizen.”

“These heinous acts are part of a broader agenda of radical Islamism led by Iran, aiming for global domination,” Haskel said.

“Jews are often the first targets, but they are never the last. If France cannot protect its Jewish population, the broader French community is now at risk. Let this serve as a warning: when the Jews are gone, native French will be the next to have to leave or submit.”

La Parisien reported the assaulted woman only filed the complaint on July 1 at the urging of René Taïeb, the president of the Union of Jewish Communities of Val-d’Oise and vice president of the BNVCA, the National Bureau for Vigilance against Anti-Semitism.

Taïeb told the outlet that the attack was “one too many, committed in a town that seems peaceful but is experiencing problems.”

He said antisemitic writing had also been found on the local post office.

“Antisemitic acts are not diminishing. Quite the contrary. They are exploding,” he said.

Illustrative: Protesters wave an Israeli flag and hold a placard reading ‘Raped because she is Jewish’ as they gather to condemn the alleged antisemetic gang rape of a 12-year-old girl, outside the Paris city hall, June 19, 2024. (Alain Jocard / AFP)

Last month the gang rape in Paris of a 12-year-old Jewish girl by three teenagers sparked outrage and protests. The girl had told police that the three suspects attacked her in a public park, beat her, and forced her to have sex “while uttering death threats and antisemitic remarks,” one police source told AFP.

France has the largest Jewish community of any country outside Israel and the United States.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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